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Thursday, 25 April 2013 21:22

Two Northern California CAA Chapters’ Substantive Meetings

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If you’ve ever attended or hosted any I-CAR classes in northern California, you probably know the name Kurt Money. Literally hundreds of body shop techs, estimators, managers, painters and associated personnel have yelled “Show Me the Money!” more than once, because Kurt Money helps collision professionals by offering his extensive knowledge in classes that are both thorough and easy to understand.

An I-CAR instructor and a collision tech at Larkfield Body & Paint in Santa Rosa, CA, Money was on hand when the California Autobody Association’s East Bay (EB-CAA) chapter hosted its March meeting in Pleasant Hill, CA.

For the 60 people in attendance, Money outlined I-CAR’s newest blueprinting course (BLU01: Blueprinting Process and Damage Discovery) that provides interactive training and defines the blueprinting process in a body shop environment. The course uses actual vehicles to teach students how to properly disassemble and efficiently blueprint actual vehicles to help students uncover hidden damage that can impact the repair process.

Students learn how the blueprinting process can improve quality, increase efficiency and productivity and reduce supplements through a standardized approach to repair planning. The successful completion of this four-credit training component will fulfill Gold Class business requirements for non-structural technicians in I-CAR’s newest technology knowledge area. I-CAR said it also fulfills ProLevel 3 training requirements for estimators and auto physical damage appraisers.

Money gave the EB-CAA members some valuable information about the new class and its curriculum. “It’s a one-day, five-hour class that is hands-on and really geared for estimators,” he said. “You can always encounter unforeseen things while you’re blueprinting, but by doing it right, you can prevent problems before they present themselves. This class will put you in a new mindset and will reduce your cycle times while performing more accurate repairs the first time.”

After Money’s presentation, Tim Brusher from Honda talked about the automaker’s OE parts programs and discussed his job as a collision sales marketing manager and how he can help body shops in northern California.
“We’re here to support shops and get more Honda parts in your repairs,” Brusher said. “By using our tools, such as CollisionLink and the things offered through our ProFirst program, we can make you a better business while including more and more Honda OE parts.”

Jeffrey James from GM was also on hand to roll out some new programs, including the GM Fascia and Lighting Core Program. Effective since March of this year, the program encourages body shops to return damaged lighting assemblies and fascias to GM for credits.

“We’re offering $75 for fascias and $50 for headlight and tail lamp assemblies,” James explained. “This way these parts can’t enter the aftermarket and get sold later as recycled or re-manufactured.” James also urged the body shop owners in attendance to work with their local GM dealerships, because they want to be price competitive with the aftermarket. For more information about any GM parts promotional programs, visit

The Santa Clara chapter of the CAA (SC-CAA) hosted its March meeting in San Jose, CA. One of the two speakers was Chris Risdon, a senior product education and development administrator for the University of Toyota’s product education department.

Risdon shared his deep knowledge about the manufacturer’s newest models and latest important technical bulletins. He’s an amazing source for valuable technical information about every Toyota manufactured within the last 20 years—from the popular Prius all the way to the Yaris. The 50-plus people in attendance were enthralled by Risdon’s presentation, which was followed by a spirited question-and- answer session.

The University of Toyota trains approximately 8,500 collision professionals every year at their three locations in Los Angeles, Jacksonville, FL, and New Jersey. The cost for the training is nominal and most classes last no more than two days. The University’s mantra is “Fix-It-Rite/Fix-It Smart” and Risdon explained that its one of the few institutions of its type in the world.

Rick Leos, a body & collision business development consultant for Toyota, also spoke to the SC-CAA members about Toyota’s new predictive estimating concept, which was unveiled at last year’s SEMA Show and is being called a “game changer” in regard to how estimates are going to be written in the future. Leos is the creator of this system, which is based on following OE repair procedures and putting the safety of the consumer first.

When writing an estimate on a damaged Toyota vehicle, predictive estimating will assume repair procedures and parts related to the type and location of the damage. This proactive approach assumes that the types of damage will require corresponding sets of repair functions, related parts and specific repair procedures, Leos explained.

“It’s definitely going to change the way estimates are done,” Leos said. “Instead of a blank estimate that you fill in, now you’re working in reverse, because the data is already there. Everything is there to fix the car, so it’s a matter of omitting rather than populating the estimate’s information. We have also included all of the repair procedures next to the line item so that critical steps won’t be missed. In addition, you have all the documentation you need supporting the safe repair of the vehicle, while adhering to Toyota’s OE standards.”

Leos said that more than 10 car manufacturers are currently interested in getting involved in this cutting-edge form of estimating after seeing positive reviews with Toyota. “Ford, Chrysler and GM are coming on board and others are lining up, because they can see that predictive estimating is going to become the norm in this industry.”

SC-CAA President Randy Greenblat was pleased by the two presentations and thought the membership agreed, he said. “Toyota is offering some exceptional free OE training and shops should really take advantage of it. You have to be sponsored by your local dealership, but I feel it’s invaluable to any shop, because we call get a lot of Toyotas coming through our doors all the time. As far as the presentation by Rick Leos about predictive estimating, I think it really opened our eyes and got our attention. If we can find anything that will make us more effective and save time, we’re more than just a little interested.”

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